Friday the 13th will turn out to be lucky for Parramatta after all, with the Titans signing sacrificial lamb Nathan Peats overnight for the rest of the season and next year.
With Anthony Watmough’s retirement through injury, and Peats off the books, the NRL will rule Parramatta is officially under the salary cap.
So tomorrow night’s clash with South Sydney at Pirtek Stadium will be for competition points.
But how many points will Parramatta lose in the final determination in three weeks’ time?
Currently it’s 12, but in the wash-up it could be more or even less, depending on the NRL.
The ‘Gang of Five’ facing NRL deregistration – chairman Steve Sharp, directors Tom Issa and Peter Serrao, CEO John Boulous, and football operations manager Daniel Anderson – must ride off into the sunset before the NRL makes its final decision.
The gang has three weeks to saddle up and be gone.
If, for some unfathomable reason, the gang decide they are going nowhere, the NRL is likely to deduct more than the 12 points.
So this unholy mess is still a long way from being done and dusted.
However long that takes, the Parramatta roster and fans should be eternally grateful to Nathan Peats, who was so proud to be an Eel, sacrificing himself for the good of the club.
Peats is paying the penalty for the Eels management signing four high-quality footballers – Kieran Foran, Michael Jennings, Michael Gordon, and Beau Scott – in full knowledge the club was well over the cap.
Peats was innocent, but just happened to be easiest sacrifice.
The domino effect will be felt on the Gold Coast.
Peats is the fifth hooker on the Titans’ books, with co-captain Nathan Friend, Kierran Moseley, Daniel Mortimer and Matt Srama all out of contract by season’s end.
With Peats already signed for next year, it’s reasonable to assume two of those four Titan rakes will be looking for another club, starting now.
In the meantime, expect Pirtek Stadium to be chockers tomorrow night as fans can at last see some light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel.